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A new CDC study found 5% of infants or fetuses born to women in the U.S. with laboratory-confirmed Zika infections had microcephaly or another Zika-linked birth defect.

"The bottom line is that Zika infection, identified during any trimester of pregnancy, can lead to serious brain and other birth defects," said Peggy Honein, an author on the study.

What they found: Infants developed microcephaly and other birth defects regardless of whether or not the mother displayed symptoms. The data also showed that babies infected in all trimesters exhibited birth defects, but the earlier the infection occurred, the more likely they were. Rates ranged from 8% for infants infected in the first trimester to 4% in the third.

Unanswered questions: There are reported cases of Zika-infected mothers having babies that appear normal at birth, but develop microcephaly and neurological difficulties as they age. Because this study looked at newborns, these cases are not included.

Go deeper: Much of the research linking Zika to microcephaly has been done in South America. This study confirms that those cases were due to the Zika virus, and not due to an interaction of the virus with something genetic or environmental in the area. The size (2549 people) and rigor of the study was also important, as past research on Zika-related birth defects has ranged in quality and given prevalence rates ranging from 1-13%. This was one of the first studies to break down infections by trimester and whether or not the mother was asymptomatic.

Go deeper

Senate Republicans shrug off debt default deadline

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testifies before House members Wednesday. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Republicans are feeling far more relaxed about the impending Dec. 15 federal debt-default deadline this time around, with many suggesting the real drop-dead date isn't until January.

Why it matters: Their attitude toward the deadline set by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is distinctively different from the hair-on-fire rhetoric before the initial Oct. 18 date. But a Congress discounting the advice of a Treasury secretary is risky financial practice — and has the potential to affect markets itself.

14 mins ago - Politics & Policy

GOP fights itself on shutting down government over vaccine mandates

Reporters question Senate Minority Whip John Thune before the Republican Party's weekly lunch on Tuesday. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

GOP leaders on Capitol Hill are scrambling to reach a deal with a bloc of 15 Senate Republicans threatening a government shutdown to force a fight over the Biden administration's vaccine mandates.

Why it matters: The push to defund the mandates — by holding the short-term government funding bill hostageis largely symbolic, and highly controversial within the Republican Party. A shutdown as early as midnight Friday could trigger everything from national park closures to delays in receiving Social Security checks.

Progressives call for swift Boebert punishment

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Cori Bush (far right) walk through the Capitol last month. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

House progressives are seeking concrete punishment for Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) as retribution for her incendiary remarks against one of their own, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

Why it matters: House Democratic leaders continue to consider their options amid the latest ugly incident in their chamber. Republicans are already threatening retaliation after Democrats stripped Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) of her committee assignments and censured Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.).